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DuffersEdge

Is it a JTL, fake or something else?

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9 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

That's not woodworm, its just the varnish

Maybe, but if they have tunnelled the fingerboard, the they may have chomped the spruce even more.

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2 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

That's not woodworm, its just the varnish

Good to know. The back of the Violin has none of that issue. Can anyone explain why that might be?

 Has the violin perhaps been cleaned or polished on the face but not the back with something that has done this? Or could it be sunlight damage?

Picture of the Maidstone's back attached with a close up of the varnish issue on its table. 

BackMaidstone.jpg

MaidstoneVarnishIssue.jpg

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Just now, Strad O Various Jr. said:

I'm not sure what causes it, it's something that follows the grain

16 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:
Just now, Strad O Various Jr. said:

I'm not sure what causes it, it's something that follows the grain

That's why I wondered about woodworm. I don't want to have to open it up to check. 

Looking inside via the button hole with a snake light on the f-holes there is no apparent evidence of flight holes inside the violin. Aside for the flight holes on the fingerboard, there is no sign of flight holes on the table. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, DuffersEdge said:

I am currently pondering whether or not to replace the fingerboard on a 4/4 later Maidstone model (Labelled" "The Maidsone. Murdoch Murdoch and Co. London. E.C" because latterly John Murdoch's son became a partner in the company) which has a number of woodworm flight holes that have been filled by what looks like black-wood dust mixed with glue. I am swaying towards just leaving the original fingerboard on it. Moreover, the table of the violin also shows what looks very much to me like evidence of extensive woodworm activity following the grain under the varnish. Is it? Or is it just degradation of the varnish? 

The worm holes in the fingerboard were probably there before the ebony was even cut into a blank to make it from. The species of beetle which can eat ebony, seems to be a tropical one, and certainly in the case of a violin, there are much easier woods to eat, which would contain more nourishment. 

This varnish degradation happens with an instrument being left in a loft for example, where each year the atmosphere changes from extremes of damp, baking hot, dry, and freezing numerous times.
Thick and glassy varnishes can be hard and brittle. Eventually with the continued shrinking and expansion of the spruce, it starts to become detached from the wood, following the grain. The maple parts never seem to be affected to the same extent, or at all.
Later commercial spray finishes, such as nitro cellulose can completely flake off over large areas. These do not stand up well to poor storage conditions.

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11 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

The worm holes in the fingerboard were probably there before the ebony was even cut into a blank to make it from. The species of beetle which can eat ebony, seems to be a tropical one, and certainly in the case of a violin, there are much easier woods to eat, which would contain more nourishment. 

This varnish degradation happens with an instrument being left in a loft for example, where each year the atmosphere changes from extremes of damp, baking hot, dry, and freezing numerous times.
Thick and glassy varnishes can be hard and brittle. Eventually with the continued shrinking and expansion of the spruce, it starts to become detached from the wood, following the grain. The maple parts never seem to be affected to the same extent, or at all.
Later commercial spray finishes, such as nitro cellulose can completely flake off over large areas. These do not stand up well to poor storage conditions.

Given the condition of the violin when I got it (decades of neglected storage - I suppose most likely in a loft in its orignal coffin style wooden Maidstone violin case) that would explain perfectly what has happened. Thank you for explaining it. Much appreciated to have learned something new and useful today.

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1 hour ago, DuffersEdge said:

:huh: I can't imagine why. :D

You have an excuse to revarnish and regraduate and fit a new bass bar.

But no fake labels. Not that you would of course.

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19 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

The worm holes in the fingerboard were probably there before the ebony was even cut into a blank to make it from. The species of beetle which can eat ebony, seems to be a tropical one, and certainly in the case of a violin, there are much easier woods to eat, which would contain more nourishment. 

This varnish degradation happens with an instrument being left in a loft for example, where each year the atmosphere changes from extremes of damp, baking hot, dry, and freezing numerous times.
Thick and glassy varnishes can be hard and brittle. Eventually with the continued shrinking and expansion of the spruce, it starts to become detached from the wood, following the grain. The maple parts never seem to be affected to the same extent, or at all.
Later commercial spray finishes, such as nitro cellulose can completely flake off over large areas. These do not stand up well to poor storage conditions.

So what is that 'varnish' and when did it first appear? Early 20th century? How early?

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1 minute ago, sospiri said:

You have an excuse to revarnish and regraduate and fit a new bass bar.

But no fake labels. Not that you would of course.

Yes, I accept that. I could do that work to a reasonable degree of acceptability. 'Though as a "duffer" it would take me approx. 50 times as long as someone who has done it all  many times before. But even were I to set about doing all that, I have a serious question that I would really appreciate a serious answer to. Namely, would it really make any worthwhile discernible difference to how this violin would play? The carved out bass bar inside looks reasonably shaped and substantial - not as bad as some I've seen, although nothing like as neat and elegant, and perfect, as it could best be.

As for adding a fake label. Even if I would do such a thing, which I never have and have at least no conscious inclination to do, It has what is surely a genuine Maidstone label in it anyway. I mean, who would fake a Maidstone label? They wouldn't would they? 

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14 minutes ago, DuffersEdge said:

Yes, I accept that. I could do that work to a reasonable degree of acceptability. 'Though as a "duffer" it would take me approx. 50 times as long as someone who has done it all  many times before. But even were I to set about doing all that, I have a serious question that I would really appreciate a serious answer to. Namely, would it really make any worthwhile discernible difference to how this violin would play? The carved out bass bar inside looks reasonably shaped and substantial - not as bad as some I've seen, although nothing like as neat and elegant, and perfect, as it could best be.

As for adding a fake label. Even if I would do such a thing, which I never have and have at least no conscious inclination to do, It has what is surely a genuine Maidstone label in it anyway. I mean, who would fake a Maidstone label? They wouldn't would they? 

So the inside is smoothly carved? Is the belly off or still glued on?

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4 hours ago, sospiri said:

So the inside is smoothly carved? Is the belly off or still glued on?

At least from what I can see via a snake light shining in through the f-hole and looking through the end pin hole into the upturned violin, it is smoothly carved. Not at all like the "beaver tooth" carving as revealed on the fake JTL pictured at the start of this topic. The face (table) on the Maidstone is still glued on perfectly. 

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52 minutes ago, DuffersEdge said:

 the fake JTL pictured at the start of this topic. . 

It isn't a "fake JTL" but a genuine Saxon "Dutzendarbeit" that someone has stuck a ludicrous "Fahrkarte" (train ticket) in

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5 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Don't revarnish it, you'd only make it worth less

Absolutely - not necessary - just use a proprietory violin 'cleaner' or reviver,  maybe with a gentle use of 0000 wire wool followed by a good polish. Sometimes it takes several applications spread over a few days.

You are probably already aware but yours is a very typical (later) middle range Murdoch & Murdoch Maidstone. I found these snippets on the internet when I was researching Maidstones a few years ago:

"I have been told by a source which I cannot reveal, but whom I have no reason to doubt, that the Pilař family of Hradec Králové, Bohemia (now Czech Republic) supplied a great number of instruments to a company in the south of England around the turn of the century. I can think of no better candidate for this English company than Murdoch and Murdoch. It is, of course, possible that their records do not go back so far (especially in light of the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia, 1948-1989) but one never knows. "

There is also a range of quality in Maidstone violins; As you rightly point out and some of the earlier examples with a rectangular John G Murdoch label can be quite nice (purely relative to the usual 'rubbish' if I am getting the terminology). whilst the Maidstone 'School Orchestra' versions can be pretty awful - I've seen at least one with no bass bar. The following may shed some light:

"I think the comment that Murdoch/Maidstone violins were only student models needs some expansion: in about 1900 Murdoch advertised violins at prices between 5/- and £10/-/- (though I have seen advertisements offering them at 25% off – between 3/9d and seven guineas - described as ‘Models for Beginners, Artistes & Connoisseurs’ in Full, ¾ or ½ size, while about ten years later the Maidstone Violins ‘As used by one hundred thousand pupils in over two thousand schools’ could be bought as a set (with bow, fittings and case) for 21/-, with special terms offered to schools. A simple conversion of these prices in line with inflation since before World War 1 (nearly 83 times between 1900 and now) produces prices as follows: 5/- (3/9d) converts to £20.75 (£15.56), £10/0/0 (£7/7/0) to £830.00 (£610.00) and the 21/- (undiscounted) set to £83.00. These figures give values at their basic inflation change, but do not genuinely reflect the true increase. How could anyone produce and sell a violin for about £15.50 in today’s money or a complete set for £83.00? One would, I assume, have to pay over £100.00 even for a new beginner’s violin today, made in the Far East, [The Chinese can churn out stuff for less but these days much is machine produced] and by the same mark-up the best Murdoch fiddles (mostly it seems coming from Bohemia - people have given me the names of probable makers, but I have not yet been able to check up on them) would probably be costing £4,000- £5,000 in today’s money. I have not come across any indication in today’s auctions, eBay or more local, or elsewhere of any awareness of the tremendous difference in quality that can be found with instruments containing the Murdoch label, but in view of these figures there must be a number of unnoticed bargains around."

I need to check where I got that from!

 



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59 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

Beaver tooth carving seems more common in the instruments exported to America. I don’t think you will find a Maidstone that roughly finished.

We also get plenty of examples of what you (and I, from now on:)) call beaver tooth carving in the UK. I have even seen some with great lumps of wood still attached under the table (when the maker obviously had more pressing engagements?)

As this thread is straying all over the place, I have a question for the experts - although vast numbers of Violins were produced in the musikwinkel which I have understood to be the Schonbach/Marchneukirchen arrangements, along with Klingenthal (or is Klingenthal used to name of the same area?) I have thought of Saxony to be a separate region- a bit further north. I've seen 'Beaver tooth' from 'Saxon' violins more often than I remember from those that I have assumed to be Bohemian. Did music winkel parts drift northward into Saxony or did they have their own part time farmer production?

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19 minutes ago, Bob K said:

We also get plenty of examples of what you (and I, from now on:)) call beaver tooth carving in the UK. I have even seen some with great lumps of wood still attached under the table (when the maker obviously had more pressing engagements?)

As this thread is straying all over the place, I have a question for the experts - although vast numbers of Violins were produced in the musikwinkel which I have understood to be the Schonbach/Marchneukirchen arrangements, along with Klingenthal (or is Klingenthal used to name of the same area?) I have thought of Saxony to be a separate region- a bit further north. I've seen 'Beaver tooth' from 'Saxon' violins more often than I remember from those that I have assumed to be Bohemian. Did music winkel parts drift northward into Saxony or did they have their own part time farmer production?

The Saxon part of the “Musikwinkel” is the southernrnmost part of the state of Saxon, knows as Vogtland. The Bohemian part is the northernmost part of Bohemia, and is called Egerland. I think it impossible to trace who did more roughly hewn inside arching, or which parts came from where.

I'm not going to start calling it "beaver tooth", reminds me of Fred Flintstone

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33 minutes ago, Bob K said:

"I have been told by a source which I cannot reveal, but whom I have no reason to doubt, that the Pilař family of Hradec Králové, Bohemia (now Czech Republic) supplied a great number of instruments to a company in the south of England around the turn of the century.

I find this kind of puffery pretty depressing - there’s far too much of it in the violin trade.

There is absolutely no common ground between a Maidstone and a violin by one of the Pilar family.

 

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6 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I find this kind of puffery pretty depressing - there’s far too much of it in the violin trade.

There is absolutely no common ground between a Maidstone and a violin by one of the Pilar family.

 

Because I know zero about the Pilar family I couldn't comment but It's strange that the author doesn't want to reveal their 'source'  - maybe because it was highly dubious.

17 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

The Saxon part of the “Musikwinkel” is the southernrnmost part of the state of Saxon, knows as Vogtland. The Bohemian part is the northernmost part of Bohemia, and is called Egerland. I think it impossible to trace who did more roughly hewn inside arching, or which parts came from where.

I'm not going to start calling it "beaver tooth", reminds me of Fred Flintstone

Thanks to both.

I see what you mean, Jacob.

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22 hours ago, sospiri said:

So what is that 'varnish' and when did it first appear? Early 20th century? How early?

I do not know. Maidstone varnish isn’t something I’ve spent much thought on.

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